THE shootings in Surrey are reverberating in the House of Commons as Surrey MPs from the NDP and the Conservative Party fire off allegations at one another.
And on Thursday it was Conservative MP Nina Grewal’s turn to ask her own Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney in the House for an update on what the government was doing about it.
Blaney said: “I want to thank the member not only for her question but for her outstanding work in Surrey in making the community safer and working with leaders of the community. That is why I am proud to confirm that we are providing 100 more RCMP officers as requested by the government. We are also providing $3.5 million, 20 times more than the Government of British Columbia asked us for. As well, 30 new measures to counter violence were adopted by our government. We are standing in support of the people of Surrey.”
And then outside the House Grewal (MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells) said: “Since entering politics in 2004, I have sought solutions to the crime and gang violence that plagues our city. I have hosted community meetings, met residents and RCMP, gone on RCMP ride-alongs, spoken in the House of Commons, and brought cabinet ministers to the riding to see first-hand the problems we are dealing with and hear from residents.
“The NDP, on the other hand, are all talk and no action when it comes to voting for tough new laws that make our streets and communities safer. Consider some of the measures that they have voted against: increased penalties for sexual offenses against children; tougher sentences for the production and trafficking of illicit drugs; better protections from violent and repeat young offenders; eliminating conditional sentences or house arrest for serious and violent crimes; victim’s right to participate in parole hearings; allowing victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism; moving to a system of earned parole; protecting young people from cyberbullying and online exploitation; allowing community involvement in decisions on the location of safe injection sites; making it an offense to wear a mask or disguise while taking part in a riot; and making it easier to remove dangerous foreign criminals from Canada.
“Under previous governments the criminals got the upper hand and victims became an afterthought. From day one in office our government sought to change this situation by passing new and tougher laws to prevent crime and punish criminals.
“While obviously there have to be consequences for actions, resources must also be available to reach out to individuals – especially youth at risk of making wrong choices, getting involved in gang activity, gun activity, and drug activity.
“We have, therefore, taken a two-pronged approach that includes both tougher enforcement and prevention. We are offer programs through the National Crime Prevention Centre and under our National Anti-Drug Strategy that deal with treatment and prevention.
“These programs are operated in communities – including right here in Surrey – by local groups with the proven ability to be able to reach out to individuals, especially young people at risk, in a manner that has a visible impact.
“Canadians have been clear: they want their government to get tough on crime, and that is exactly what we are doing. We will not stand by and allow our citizens to live in fear.”
ON Monday, NDP MP Jinny Sims (Newton-North Delta), reacting to another shooting incident in Surrey the day before (May 24), demanded in the House of Commons that the federal government clarify when the 100 RCMP officers it has promised Surrey will arrive.
“Will the minister give Surrey the answer it is waiting for?” asked Sims. “When will the RCMP arrive on the ground, on our streets, in Surrey?”
Sims said Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney dodged the question.
“It is time for the government to stop stalling,” said Sims. “Photo ops and recycled announcements will not cut it. The Conservatives’ re-announcement will have no immediate impact.”
Sims noted that over the weekend Surrey saw its 30th shooting. Since January, Sims said she had risen 11 times in Parliament to address the issue, but to date, the government has refused to commit to a timeline.
SURREY RCMP said that shots were fired in the 13400-block of 70B Avenue at about 8 p.m. on Sunday (May 24), but no injuries were reported.
After receiving a report of shots fired in that area, officers rushed there and located evidence that there had been a shooting incident.
RCMP canvassed the neighbourhood for further information.
“Officers are still trying to determine if this incident is linked to any of the previous shootings that have occurred in Surrey and Delta,” said Acting Watch Commander Sgt. David MacDonald on Sunday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.